How Does a Bidet Work?

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How Does a Bidet Work?
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Benefits of a Bidet

Bidets clean the anus and genital areas after bowel movements. They can also help maintain cleanliness during menstruation, after sexual encounters and during illness. A separate bathroom fixture or a special fixture added to the toilet bowl spouts a gentle stream of clean water on demand. Women who tend toward a fishy odour in the vagina and others who need the benefits of extra cleansing, such as after a bowel movement, appreciate the targeted sanitising properties of a bidet. Bidets are beneficial by reducing body odour, and they promote urinary and genital health by reducing bacterial colonies in the vaginal and anal area.

Health Benefits

Bidets protect the user from infections from the overgrowth of fecal bacteria. Pubic hair and the moist nature of the mucous membranes encourage the growth of anal bacteria, which can enter into the urethra and may cause urinary tract and kidney infections. Fecal bacteria may also cause the rare but dangerous toxic-shock syndrome, which can be life threatening.

Bidets promote easy cleaning of vaginal and anal area. Paper does not remove all fecal mater, and growing bacteria eventually cause an odour. Bacterial colonies grow on all areas of the body and are called commensal bacteria. Microbiologists recommend that we bathe every day to reduce these colonies not only to reduce odour, but to help us maintain a healthy immune system.

Bidets allow cleanliness without the rubbing that paper causes. Anal fissures, hemmorrhoids, and other tender spots in the crotch area can make wiping with paper very irritating and painful. Some clinicians now recommend that we not even use soap in the anal and vaginal area, because it dries out the sensitive mucous membranes which do not have sebum, or oil producing glands. Paper can cause minuscule tears in this sensitive tissue, making the crotch area more prone to infection. Additionally, paper just removes the unwanted material on the surface of the crotch area, whereas the bidet can help clean the intricate folds of the anus as well as the labia of the vagina.

Types of Fixtures

Separate wash basins with a hot and cold running water faucet are available from major toilet and faucet manufacturers. These separate porcelain bathroom fixtures resemble a toilet or a urinal but are meant for washing. One sits over the basin and plugs the drain while filling the reservoir with cleansing water or doctor-prescribed cleansing and healing solutions. The bidet may be cleaned and sanitised between uses because of the faucet and built-in drain. This type of bidet may also be referred to as a sitz bath.

Toilets may be purchased with a built-in bidet feature in the seat and draw on the water reservoir of the toilet to supply the bidet faucet. This allows the toilet user to cleanse with water instead of toilet paper, and some high-end models even dry the bottom of the user, thus eliminating the need for paper. A combination toilet/bidet may save space, whereas it may deny the user the full benefits of immersing or bathing the genitals and anus in a "bath" of warm, clean water, due to the communal and unsanitary nature of the toilet bowl.

Cost of Bidet fixures

The separate bidet porcelain wash basin fixture is available from several companies and at the large do-it-yourself home improvement chains. Porcelain bidets range from low £195s to the mid £455s and require a separate water/drain access in the bathroom. A combination toilet/seat-bidet combination may be more space economical but can cost up to 10 times the cost of a low end toilet fixture. The most cost-effective method of installing a bidet may be to add an over-the-seat fixture to your existing toilet. It will require hooking the faucet to the reservoir of the toilet and may cost you for labour or may require some do-it-yourself skills. Low-end models may cost as little as £26.

A midway solution between the bidet/toilet combination and the over-the-seat version is a special bidet toilet seat. These may cost up to £325 or more.

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